If you want to sample some of the finest sculpture in England, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the best place to go.
It had been recommended to me several times, by several different people, but for some reason it took me ages to decide to make the drive over to West Bretton, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire and boy, was I glad I went.
I love art, particularly when it’s three-dimensional. I have an ongoing love affair with sculpture. If I could afford it, and my house was big enough, I’d fill it with large-scale pieces like the ones at YSP.
My preference is contemporary art so my favourite pieces (when I visited in January 2017) were Ai Wei Wei’s Iron Tree (2013), Antony Gormley’s One and Other (2000), Dennis Oppenheim’s Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components, Sophie Ryder’s Lady-Hare and Julian Opie’s amazing Galloping Horse which was my first Instagram post.
The redundant Grade II listed St Bartholomew’s chapel has also been restored as a gallery space and until 5th March 2017 you can hear African artist James Webb’s sound installations which are well worth a listen.
The café is great. It’s spacious and there’s plenty of seating (essential at busy times), the food offer is simple but tasty, and very affordable. I had the poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon and it was probably the best I’ve ever tasted (£8.95).
I have to be honest and say the website and the map (in my opinion) don’t do the place justice. It’s definitely a place for everyone, not just art lovers. You are free to explore the grounds and at every turn there’s something new to look at. Because we visited on a cold January day and didn’t do our research properly beforehand we only had a short time and a few hours isn’t enough.
YSP is a place for the whole family. You get fresh air, rolling English countryside, the finest woodland walks and the most original art money can buy and the best thing is, it’s free (aside from parking, gift shop and restaurant of course…).
And you don’t have to take my word for it, take Bill Packer’s of the Financial Times who is quoted as saying “Probably the finest exhibition site for sculpture in the world” and who am I to argue.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park West Bretton, Wakefield _WF4 4LG Tel: 01924 832631
Grounds, YSP Centre open: 10.00 – 18.00 Galleries, Shop & Restaurant: 10.00 – 17.00 YSP Café: 10.00 – 17.00 Longside Gallery: 11.00 – 16.00 Gates locked: 18.00